FIBA World Cup

‘Unlimited joy’: Brownlee in cloud nine after Gilas Pilipinas debut

Delfin Dioquino

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‘Unlimited joy’: Brownlee in cloud nine after Gilas Pilipinas debut

PROUD. Justin Brownlee says it is an honor to don the national colors for the Philippines.

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Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player Justin Brownlee says he wants to return the favor after long receiving immense admiration from Filipino fans

BULACAN, Philippines – Justin Brownlee felt like in cloud nine as he finally debuted for Gilas Pilipinas.

Flashing a wide grin, Brownlee said playing for the national team brought him “unlimited joy” after powering the Philippines to a 107-96 win over Lebanon in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Friday, February 24.

The beloved Barangay Ginebra import – pumped up by the sizable crowd at the Philippine Arena – led the Filipinos’ attack with 17 points on top of 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals in nearly 30 minutes of action.

“I got so much joy playing in the Philippines and playing in front of these fans,” said Brownlee. “Coming to the Philippine Arena, it could bring any player joy playing in front of these fans.”

“Just all-around great atmosphere. Got a lot of joy.”

It took years of work for Brownlee to don the national colors ever since he expressed his desire to become a naturalized player in 2018.

After completing his naturalization earlier this year, Brownlee said he only wanted to return the favor after long receiving immense admiration from Filipino fans.

“The Philippines showed so much love to me. I just want to do my best and do whatever I can to try to give some of it back,” he said.

“I’m just very blessed and lucky to be part of the team, part of the naturalization, and everything. It is just an honor to be able to put the Philippines in front of my chest and play for the flag.”

Brownlee caught fire from the get-go and sank back-to-back three-pointers in the opening minutes, sparking a torrid shooting that saw Gilas Pilipinas bury seven of its first 10 triples to seize control.

He already recorded 15 points by halftime and the rest of the squad picked up where he left off, with six more players scoring in double figures as the Philippines claimed its fourth straight victory in the Asian Qualifier.

“The team played well together. Luckily, we got the win. We played a great team in Lebanon. They played hard, we fought hard. It was an all-around good game,” said Brownlee. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.